Origin and History

The North Bay Science Discovery Day began in 2011 with the inspiration of the North Bay Leadership Council and a National Science Foundation grant through University of California, San Francisco's Bay Area Science Festival. The Buck Institute for Research on Aging recruited a volunteer team. Over the years we have grown from 30 exhibitors to over 100 exhibitors with exciting activities for kids.


Our first year in 2011 we welcomed 4,000 visitors


In 2012 we had 8,000 visitors


In 2013 there were 10,000 visitors


In 2014 there were over 14,000 visitors

  • The Press Democrat has an on-line collection of beautiful photos from our November 1, 2014, event.

  • Soroptimist International of Novato produced "A Sounding Board" conversation with Julie Mangada, PhD, and Don Pierce, MD, about the extremely successful Science fair which drew more than 10,000 people interested in Science.


In 2015 there were over 14,000 visitors


In 2016, in spite of the rain, we had at least 15,000

  • KWMR West Marin Community Radio interviewed Carole Bennett and Lyman Black in September 2016.

  • Soroptimist International of Novato produced "A Sounding Board" conversation with Dr. Julie Mangada, a Buck Institute scientist, and Lyman Black, a Civil Engineer, about the upcoming science fair and enrichment day which inspires thousands of kids to get excited about STEM.


In 2017 following the horrific Tubbs fire, the community requested that we go ahead as planned.
Our attendance was lower at 10,000, but they were most appreciative of some
kind of wholesome distraction.


​In 2018 our numbers returned to 15,000 attendees being involved with over 120 hands-on activities.


In 2019, the NBSDD was cancelled moments before opening at 10am because the venue
was called on to be used as an evacuation center for the Kincade fire.


The Committee discussed concerns over the fact that the last three Discovery Days were impacted by wildfires. In 2017 and 2018, the event was impacted by poor air quality. In 2019, the fairgrounds became an emergency evacuation center, leading to the cancellation of our event just minutes before opening. The event has grown too large for any other location in the North Bay. As a result, we changed the NBSDD to a Spring event to be held March 13, 2021, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift to a smaller virtual format, with 18 organizations offering 30 unique events (38 events total, some were repeated). 


Anticipated return to an in-person event at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, March 12, 2022.